Ministry of Justice

B.C.'s Prosecution Service

The Vision - Courageous, Fair and Efficient – a Prosecution Service that has the confidence of the public

As an integral part of the Ministry of Justice, the Criminal Justice Branch will deliver on its core responsibilities in a manner that safeguards prosecutorial independence, and supports an effective justice system through communication, collaborative effort and innovation. The Branch’s core responsibilities include: (1) approving and conducting criminal and regulatory prosecutions; (2) initiating and responding to appeals; (3) providing criminal law advice to government; (4) developing policies and procedures on the administration of criminal justice; (5) liaising with the media and the public on prosecution matters; and (6) any other function or responsibility assigned to the Branch by the Attorney General.

Prosecution files are managed as one part of the overall criminal justice system:

Diagram of the criminal justice process

Independence of Crown Counsel

As mandated under the Crown Counsel Act, Crown counsel make their prosecutorial decisions independent of any outside influence.

Media Statements

August 27, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation into Errington Incident
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that no charges have been approved against a member of the Oceanside Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment for an incident that occurred on November 18, 2012, in which an individual suffered a significant facial injury while being placed under arrest.

August 13, 2014

Special Prosecutor Approves Charges in Bountiful Investigation
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice, announced that independent Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson, QC, has approved criminal charges against a number of individuals associated with the community known as Bountiful, near Creston, British Columbia. The charges allege polygamy and the unlawful removal of children under the age of 16 years from Canada with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada that would be an offence against section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching) of the Criminal Code.

August 6, 2014

Criminal Justice Branch Releases Public Education Materials: 2013/14 Annual Report and Plain-Language Information Sheets
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Justice released its 2013/14 Annual Report. The Annual Report provides the public with information on the role of the B.C. Prosecution Service and the values that guide its work, as well as access to key operational data such as the volume of prosecution files that were approved in the 2013/14 fiscal year, and the aggregate outcomes of prosecution files that were concluded in this same time frame.

July 4, 2014

Crown Recommences Prosecution of Robert Frederick Widdifield
Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that it has recommenced its prosecution of Robert Frederick Widdifield in Nanaimo Supreme Court on Indictment #74552, where Mr. Widdifield is charged with extortion and theft over $5,000.  

July 3, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigations involving Police Service Dogs

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that no charges have been approved in relation to separate incidents involving the use of police service dogs (PSDs) in the arrest of suspects on November 18, 2013 in Surrey and on December 19, 2013 in Victoria. Each incident was investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO).

June 30, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigations

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that no charges have been approved against the police officers involved in two on-duty motor vehicle collisions which occurred in Langley on June 23, 2013 and in Vancouver on November 14, 2013. In each case a civilian involved received serious injuries.

June 10, 2014

Crown Files Appeal from Sentence in Dangerous Offender Case

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice, announced that on May 14, 2014 it filed an Appeal from Sentence in the case of R. v. D.J.S. [British Columbia Supreme Court (Smithers) File #21387-2; Court of Appeal File CA41809 (Vancouver)].

June 6, 2014

Stanley Cup Riot Charge Update

Victoria - As the three year anniversary of the June 15, 2011 Stanley Cup Riot is approaching, the Criminal Justice Branch (the Branch), Ministry of Justice considers it in the public interest to provide an update on the status of the related prosecution files. Since the last update on February 20, 2014, criminal charges were approved and sworn against an additional five adults in connection with the Stanley Cup Riot.

May 26, 2014

No Charges Approved in IIO Investigation

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced that no charges have been approved against a Langley RCMP officer with respect to an incident which was investigated by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO). The incident took place in Langley on September 22, 2013, and involved the officer directing a civilian to cease performing CPR on a man who had experienced a medical event while driving.

May 26, 2014

Opinion: making sure charge assessment dialogue is well-informed

Victoria - On May 14, 2014, the Vancouver Sun published an article which suggested that the standard of a “substantial likelihood of conviction” is too high for allegations of violent offending, and should be revisited. The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton, QC, has responded to the commentary, providing the public with important information on how pre-charge assessment works; some of the policy rationale underlying the model; and expressing her confidence in its continued application.

May 12, 2014

Criminal Justice Branch Releases Justice Reform Report and 2014/15 – 2016/17 Strategic Plan

Victoria - The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Justice released a Progress Report on Proposals for Reform in Criminal Justice, which provides details on the completed, and ongoing, reforms undertaken by the Branch in response to government’s 2012 Justice Reform Initiative.